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      Developmental Biology of the Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell: Building a Multilayered Vessel Wall

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          The assembly of the vessel wall from its cellular and extracellular matrix components is a critical process in the development and maturation of the cardiovascular system. However, fundamental questions concerning the origin of vessel wall cells and the mechanisms that regulate their development and differentiation remain unanswered. The initial step of vessel wall morphogenesis is formation of a primary vascular network, comprised of nascent endothelial cell tubes, via the processes of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. Subsequently, primordial vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are recruited to the endothelium to form a multilayered vessel wall. During the course of development and maturation, the VSMC plays diverse roles: it is a biosynthetic, proliferative, and contractile component of the vessel wall. Although the field of vascular development has blossomed in the past decade, the molecules and mechanisms that regulate this developmental pathway are not well defined. The focus of this review is on those facets of VSMC development important for transforming a nascent endothelial tube into a multilayered structure. We discuss the primordial VSMC with particular attention to its purported origins, the components of the extracellular milieu that contribute to its development, and the contribution of embryonic hemodynamics to vessel wall assembly.

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          Most cited references 53

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          Pericyte loss and microaneurysm formation in PDGF-B-deficient mice.

          Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-B-deficient mouse embryos were found to lack microvascular pericytes, which normally form part of the capillary wall, and they developed numerous capillary microaneurysms that ruptured at late gestation. Endothelial cells of the sprouting capillaries in the mutant mice appeared to be unable to attract PDGF-Rbeta-positive pericyte progenitor cells. Pericytes may contribute to the mechanical stability of the capillary wall. Comparisons made between PDGF null mouse phenotypes suggest a general role for PDGFs in the development of myofibroblasts.
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            Molecular distinction and angiogenic interaction between embryonic arteries and veins revealed by ephrin-B2 and its receptor Eph-B4.

            The vertebrate circulatory system is composed of arteries and veins. The functional and pathological differences between these vessels have been assumed to reflect physiological differences such as oxygenation and blood pressure. Here we show that ephrin-B2, an Eph family transmembrane ligand, marks arterial but not venous endothelial cells from the onset of angiogenesis. Conversely, Eph-B4, a receptor for ephrin-B2, marks veins but not arteries. ephrin-B2 knockout mice display defects in angiogenesis by both arteries and veins in the capillary networks of the head and yolk sac as well as in myocardial trabeculation. These results provide evidence that differences between arteries and veins are in part genetically determined and suggest that reciprocal signaling between these two types of vessels is crucial for morphogenesis of the capillary beds.
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              Abnormal lung development and cleft palate in mice lacking TGF-beta 3 indicates defects of epithelial-mesenchymal interaction.

              A broad spectrum of biological activities has been proposed for transforming growth factor-beta 3 (TGF-beta 3). To study TGF-beta 3 function in development, TGF-beta 3 null mutant mice were generated by gene-targeting. Within 20 hours of birth, homozygous TGF-beta 3-/- mice die with unique and consistent phenotypic features including delayed pulmonary development and defective palatogenesis. Unlike other null mutants with cleft palate, TGF-beta 3-/- mice lack other concomitant craniofacial abnormalities. This study demonstrates an essential function for TGF-beta 3 in the normal morphogenesis of palate and lung, and directly implicates this cytokine in mechanisms of epithelial-mesenchymal interaction.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                February 1999
                01 March 1999
                : 36
                : 1
                : 2-27
                aJohn B. Pierce Laboratory and Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., USA; bDepartment of Cell Biology and Cardiovascular Developmental Biology Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C., USA
                25622 J Vasc Res 1999;36:2–27
                © 1999 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                References: 300, Pages: 26


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